Case study

Senior mechanical engineer — Jason Daryl Smith

Jason's building services degree gave him all the essential skills he needed to start his mechanical engineering career

How did you get your job with a building services consultancy?

To secure the job with Etec Associates, I approached a recruitment consultant who arranged various interviews for me based on my skill set at the time.

What's a typical working day like?

A typical day will usually consist of carrying out design calculations for various types of mechanical systems. These include heating systems and cooling or ventilation systems for various types of building across all sectors, particularly commercial and residential property, education and healthcare buildings.

I'm not always in the office. Work can involve being out on site and engaging with contractors or the client we're carrying out the designs for. It is also sometimes necessary to solve on-site issues that occur during the construction phase.

Another typical day can consist of carrying out surveys of a building for upcoming new projects to assess the client's requirements against the existing systems.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love that every day is a new challenge, and that the industry is ever changing, with new software and products becoming available all the time.

What are your challenges?

The most frequent challenge we come across is co-ordination with other relevant disciplines. As building services engineers we play a key role in making a building functional and comfortable for use. However, ensuring our design is workable within the architectural and structural constraints of the building is key to achieving a design which will meet the ends user's requirements.

How relevant is your building services degree?

My building services degree has been extremely relevant to my career. It's provided me with a good knowledge and overview of the available mechanical systems and the theory behind them.

Through my degree I've learned the method for correctly sizing mechanical systems - something I do most days. I've also developed my teamwork skills and increased my confidence in public speaking and meeting style situations. These are vital skills for a career in engineering.

How has your role developed? What are your career ambitions?

Since starting in the industry, my role has developed from drawing production using computer software to having the responsibility of engaging with the clients to ensure that we have the correct brief and requirements for a given project, and that my designs are meeting their needs.

Engaging with clients is something I really enjoy, and I hope within the next two years to achieve my Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) chartership. My long-term ambition is to one day be the director of a company or run my own consultancy.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

My advice to anyone looking to undertake a career in building services would be ensure that you take advantage of any training offered, as it's important to develop your skills and knowledge with continued professional development (CPD) and company training. One of the exciting things about the industry is the development of new technology which can improve designs. You need to keep on top of how the industry is changing to succeed.

Aim for CIBSE chartership. Becoming chartered can make you a more desirable candidate when looking for new roles.

Make sure that you network, as joining groups such as CIBSE Young Engineers Network (YEN) will put you in touch with other young engineers. Networking is an essential part of the job, and you will use this skill daily when speaking with clients in attempts to secure new work, or when talking to contractors on site.

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